Category Archives: TheTree

6 Degrees of Shelling

I’m ChrisC and I have an addiction…
A serious addiction…
To shelling…..

I LOVE shelling!
I am addicted.
There,I said it.What a relief!
I go at least once a week to the beach.
And any chance I get to steal away to Sanibel Island,I go.
I can’t seem to help myself.
Any beach I go to,I look for shells.
I have shells all over my house….
In my kitchen….


In my laundry room,even….
Not to mention everywhere else in the house.Bedrooms,bathrooms,entry,living room,dining room,even the lanai at TheGreatWall….
I blame my mother.
Don’t we all?
She started me on this path….

So what does this have to do with gardening?
or 6 degrees of anything?
Bear with me….

Remember back here,I wrote about cleaning out the back of the garden?
It had become overgrown,and weedy with invasives.The past few years,I’ve been trying to replace the invasives with Florida natives.
Today,the bank by the water is replaced with Simpson’s Stopper…
simpsons stopper

The old Bay Oak,which was damaged by TheTree,has started to recover and has been joined by a Sweet Gum tree….

….and is surrounded by a Beautyberry,and a native Cassava.

…a Jamaica Caper

…and a Walter’s Viburnum

So what does this have to do with shelling,you ask?
If you’ve followed me this far,bear with me…
Our lake has been considered as endangered,by Hillsborough County,but they have done nothing to help clean it up.The lake is fed by three springs,but areas of it are overgrown with hydrilla and invasive plants.A few of of us have taken it upon ourselves to do our part.Cleaning things out.Removing garbage,etc.Replanting with natives.
Already we have seen a return of an alligator and turtles.
By the way,what degree am I up to?

So,today,when I was walking back there,what should I see?
Egg casings of Florida Apple Snails!

I found a few laying on the bank of the water.
In case you haven’t noticed,I’m not good at before photos…

But this is what they look like all cleaned up….

I lost track,but did I make
6 Degrees of Shelling?

Butterflies,Spinach and a bunny….

I got my first Spinach Tree,Cnidoscolus aconitifolius,or Tree Spinach,cutting from Meems.She wrote a great post about it here. If you want to know anything about this tree go there,’cause she said it best.

But….. Since then,I have a large tree… IMG_1370
see the Gulf Frittalary?
a smaller tree….ooops,forgot to take a photo
and a cutting has gone to Erich,the Younger’s garden in Seminole Heights. Since TheTree went down,I have been in desperate need of shade for the garden.And for a middle story tree,this one is great.And it’s a butterfly magnet! What more could you ask for? IMG_1357 The Zebra Long Wings are drawn to it. IMG_1363
As are the Monarchs….

IMG_1364 photo bomb by a bee! IMG_1365 Love the blooms!

IMG_1367 and the leaves….

IMG_1366 The butterflies seem drawn to it ,too.

But while I was patiently —by the way,I have no patience,either— waiting to take these photos,look who should come strolling by….. IMG_1352

IMG_1353 I think he/she is used to me….. ”Oh,it’s that lady with the camera.Don’t mind her.”

Have a great week!!!!

Paths to no where……

After Monday’s clean up,it was time to move on to other areas of the garden.

The paths –to- no-where had been neglected for years.Almost three years ago I was ready to finish them with gravel and stepping stones,but then….First TheTree went down,then the pool was demo’d and reconstructed,then the house was reno’d,then the kitchen was added on to and reno’d…..

get my drift?

They were  muddy,slippery messes!

That point was brought home,Monday.

We slipped.

We tracked mud……


after two days of hauling gravel,two of them are done!

IMG_0848This one is my favorite.It is shady(the only part of the garden that is shady),all day long.Everything growing here is green and white.A cool respite in the heat of summer.The other half of this one is yet to be done.That half has been started,but there was a basketball game on today….

Go Gators! #1 seed! Yeah baby!

This one leads to the canal.The erosion here was bad!IMG_0854

Next up….

..this mess of a side yard…..IMG_0853

All of the construction of the past 3 years originated from here.Trucks,construction equipment,etc. were parked here.

It’s a mess!

Overgrown and weed filled.The plants that will be used here will come from divisions of others already in the rest of the garden.

But the weather forecast for the next two days calls for rain,so it may be put off for a few days.

Guess I’ll be cleaning house……